Was online education “delivered” properly during the lockdown?

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According to a new 5-state survey conducted by the non-profit Oxfam India...

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80% of parents with children studying in government schools reported that education was “not delivered” during the lockdown

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This failure was mostly because families did not have digital devices and access to digital mediums of education, said the study

The survey was conducted among 1,158 parents and 488 teachers across Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh between May-June 2020

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The problem of digital access was further exacerbated by unavailability of textbooks--80% of the parents said that their children had no textbooks to support online classes

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In government schools, the impact of COVID-19 affected not only the delivery of education...

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...but also that of additional entitlements such as the provision of learning material and mid-day meals, said the study.

Education delivery by private schools too was impacted though not to the extent reported by government schools

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Further, the study found that in homes that had digital access, WhatsApp was the primary mode (75%) for delivering education

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...followed by phone calls between teachers and students (38%)

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But more than 75% of parents had trouble ensuring WhatsApp lessons because of the lack of an internet or the inability to afford it and sometimes, poor internet speed/signal

Based on its study, Oxfam has listed various measures to improve the delivery of education, protect vulnerable communities and provide a safe return to school for students.

1.

Place rapid response team for quick resolution of grievances regarding mid-day meals and ensure safe home delivery of cooked meals/dry rations

2.

Make adequate WASH facilities (water, soap and functional toilets) available in all schools before they reopen

3.

Free testing of all teachers before they resume teaching duties